Bali is a favorite destination for many people around the world and it’s easy to see why! From its list of unending idyllic beaches, captivating spiritual energy, terraced rice fields and exotic sunsets. There is so much to see and experience on this magnificent island paradise!
Going to Bali feels like going on a never-ending adventure – there is an activity to suit every soul! Experience surfing, yoga, meditation, trekking, delicious food or amazing nightlife. Certain areas of Bali have been influenced by tourism, with hubs of cute cafes, hip bars, and vegan restaurants. Other areas are still quite remote, maintaining their uniquely Balinese beauty and charm.
While visiting Bali has become cliched these days with some many people trying to find their “Eat, Pray, Love” experience and chill out at some expensive yoga retreat, I still find the island to be beautiful, budget friendly, and full of things to do. The countryside is beautiful, the beaches (outside of Kuta) are picture perfect, there is great hiking, friendly locals, world-class dining, and it’s inexpensive.
To know a few facts about Bali before arriving can really make a difference, particularly when you are arriving for the first time. But even the seasoned traveler to Bali will each and every time be surprised about new things, new tricks to ensure a smooth time on Bali.
Bali is a part of Indonesia and therefore still subject to all the opportunities and challenges that a developing country is facing in this very dynamic time. Although Bali is pretty safe and easy to travel, a lot of things simply don’t work the way you are used to. Well, that’s part of the fun, isn’t it.
Bali is known to many, but only truly understood by a few.
You can have the best time of your life in Bali (most of you will) or experience a really bad time (some of you will). It all depends on knowing a few facts about this unique island that you wish to visit, and understanding what you can expect where and when, and respecting some basic rules. How to behave in certain situations and what to avoid. Take your time and read up on the information, which will help you to enjoy a fantastic holiday on Bali, like millions before you.
Each area in Bali is quite different from one another. It’s very beneficial for travelers to know which destination in Bali stands for what in order to choose the best place for you to stay – before you book your hotel or villa.
Canggu is the best place in Bali when it comes to variety and “best mix of everything”. A vibrant and fun place for everyone. Know for for:
- Great Beach & Surf
- Great Restaurants
- Yoga, Fitness & Health
- Co-Working & Creativity
- Kids Friendly
- Nightlife & Beach Clubs
Canggu is relatively “young”, 3-5 years back, there was not much but rice fields and some guesthouses for surfers. Lately, Canggu has evolved into a vibrant and fun mix between Ubud and Seminyak, with less art & temples. It’s a great place for surfers & backbackers but also for families and even if you are looking for fun and party or great luxury.
Canggu features several beaches, from Berawa, Pantai Nelayan, Batu Bolong, Echo up to Pererenan Beach (Pantai).
Kuta is a lively beach town that never sleeps. Millions of people visit Kuta every year to surf or relax on the beautiful white-sand beach while enjoying street massage and bottles of cold Bintang beer. Know for:
- Great Beach & Surf
- Spa & massage
- Affordable hotels
- Tattoo studios
Kuta is located next to Bali International airport (DPS). The area is mainly known for its long sandy beach and gentle waves, as well as its wild nightlife and high concentration of bars, nightclubs, and hotels. Young travellers and those on a budget love it here, as everything is very affordable. Window shopping through the endless labyrinth of shops and boutiques is also a fun thing to do, remember all prices are mostly negotiable, so your good bargaining skills may save you a lot of money.
Bali’s #1 Highland Resort, with mesmerizing view of active volcano and pristine lake Batur. Known for:
- Lower temperature than most areas in Bali
- Mt. Batur Sunrise trekking
- Affordable lake-front accommodation
- Coffee and orange plantation
- Funky coffee-shops
- A loyal dog breed
- Motocross, Jeep and bicycle tour
- Weekend getaway destination
- Hot springs
A Refreshing Lake Resort
Kintamani is another local’s favourite destination to spend a holiday with family. The temperature could be five degrees or even lower than other Bali regions, Lake Batur as one of its iconic attractions is 1050 MSL. Most tourists come to Kintamani enjoying the fresh air of mountainous area, sunrise trekking at Mount Batur, camping and do adventurous activities like motocross, rock-climbing or Jeep tour.
Kintamani is a part of Bangli Regency, about one-hour car drive to north from Ubud. Not only has dozens of natural attractions, Kintamani also has several unique cultural destinations nearby. Ulun Danu Batur, Pura Puncak Penulisan and the mysterious island, Trunyan, known for their ancient burial rites. Staying in Kintamani for a couple of days has always been a great idea, to escape the heat and hustle in South Bali.
Ubud is known for its arts, spirituality, and strong traditional culture, as well as its openness to creative outsiders. Known for:
- Unique culture
- Nature: Rice terrace, waterfall, forest
- Dance shows
- Local culinary
- Spiritual tours
Beautiful Culture and Nature
Ubud is a major centre of Balinese culture and spirituality that has attracted artists and travellers for nearly a century. Although its ever-increasing popularity means that it is now as busy as South Bali, the development of Ubud has been more focused on maintaining traditional culture.
It is still one of the best places to visit temples, see Balinese art, watch dancesand performances, meditate, practice yoga, take advantage of spiritual healersand traditional medicine, or buy local handicrafts. Ubud’s cooler climate and lush vegetation also make it ideal for an escape from the heat of Bali’s beaches.
A magical area at the southern-most of Bali, home for a very sacred temple Pura Luhur Uluwatu, dozen of high-end accommodation and amazing surf breaks. Known for:
- Luxurious Resorts
- An iconic temple
- Trendy beach clubs
- Beautiful beaches
- Fancy spa treatments
Party, Surf and Splurge at Uluwatu
Uluwatu is the name of a breathtaking and important temple “Pura Luhur Uluwatu” at the very southern end of Bali’s Bukit Peninsula. It is also a name given to a nearby surf break, which is considered to be one of the best in the world. For the past few years, the area was developing very rapidly. World-class beach clubs, high-end accommodation and luxurious spas are built on spectacular locations overlooking the endless Indian Ocean.
Affordable guest houses, surf and yoga camps can also be found in Uluwatu, these type of accommodation is a perfect choice for those travelling on a budget.
Breathtaking natural beauty with viewpoints, beaches and dive sites. Known for:
- Superb sights and viewpoints
- Rugged island life
- Excellent dive spots and snorkelling
- A protected tropical marine paradise (MPA)
- Bird sanctuary area
- Laidback and quiet vibes
- Weekend getaway tour
- Local culture and history
A social media sensation
Nusa Penida is the largest offshore island in Bali. It can be reached in roughly 40 minutes by speedboat from Sanur or Padangbai. Penida has a well-developed local population, but not much tourist infrastructure and most visitors come for a weekend getaway or a full-day tour.The island is also home to a bird sanctuary, uncrowded white sand beaches, sacred temples, and some of Bali’s best dive sites. Diving was the main reason tourists came here years ago before Kelingking, and Diamond beachbecame viral on Instagram. Divers came to find a rare opportunity to swim with sharks, mantas, and mola-mola in Nusa Penida waters. Everything is still basic in the island; you can expect to find only humble guesthouses and warung (food stalls) managed by local families in busy areas near the ports and attractions, nothing fancy. It is very hot and dry during the day, so if you plan to visit beaches and tourists attractions, please bring your hat, sunscreen and sunglasses.
Rice: the Lifeblood of Balinese
Rice is a staple food for most of Balinese and Indonesian, almost no food in the island served without rice. It is also seen as the gift from God through Goddess of Rice, Ida Bhatari Sri. Every Wednesday that falls on the twenty-eighth weeks of Balinese calendar is a special devotion day for Dewi Sri.
Apart from the dense of urban population and the gleam of touristic areas in South of Bali, Balinese is considered as one of the most productive rice growers in the country. The farming practice is the result of cultural exchange between local and other ethnics that have inhabited the island over the past centuries. Another secret for the excellence of Bali in producing high quality of rice is on the ancient irrigation system to water their rice fields, called Subak. Guided by the religious and cultural values; combined with the complex engineering and social principles – Subak is now one of the UNESCO World Heritage cultural landscapes.
Beautiful beaches are one of the main reason, visitors from all over the world decide to visit Bali. In 1957 a Dutch sailor named Aernoudt Lintgens was stunned by the beauty of Kuta Beach and wrote a journal “The Last Paradise”. Even though Bali was fairly known back then, from thereon Bali became increasingly popular. A couple of decades later, Alby Falzon and David Elfick created a classic surf film about Kuta and Uluwatu called “Morning of the Earth” which finally invited many other surfers from around the world, to enjoy the incredible waves and wide beaches in Bali.
However, every beach in four coastal areas of Bali has its own uniqueness. There are many different elements, such as the colour of the sands, the waves, seabeds, and other elements that make them all different and unique.
Get on board to the Balinese adventure and let yourself get involved with their vibrant spirit.
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